Dry eyes are one of the most common symptoms suffered by Americans. The causes of dry eyes are varied, and dry eyes may even be indicative of disease or some underlying problem with the eye’s anatomy. The most common cause of dry eyes, however, is medication. Many medications have side effects that include dry eyes, and some of these medications are among the most commonly prescribed. While you should always consult with your doctor to find out what may be behind your dry eyes, a look at some of the medications you may be taking could reveal why your eyes are so dry. We will look at some medications that most commonly cause this symptom.
Antihistamines are one of the most common culprits of dry eye symptoms, especially if they are taken orally. Some common antihistamines include Benadryl and Zyrtec. Antihistamines cause a reduction in tear production, which means that not only can antihistamines cause dry eyes in those who do not already suffer from this condition, but they can make dry eyes far worse in those who have dealt with this condition previously. Because antihistamines are so widespread, they are often the primary cause of dry eyes. If you wear contact lenses, but suffer from dry eyes caused by antihistamines, you can look for contact lenses online that will help reduce the discomfort of dry eyes.
Antidepressants are another common cause of dry eyes. Although a less common cause of dry eyes than antihistamines, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Celexa and Zoloft, have caused the symptom in some patients.
Isotretinoin is often prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from severe acne or psoriasis. While it is an effective medication against these skin problems, it is also commonly associated with dry eye symptoms.
Diuretic medications are most often prescribed for high blood pressure and other heart conditions, but they are also a common cause of dry eye symptoms, as well. Some common diuretic medications include Lasix, Diuril, and Hydrodiuril.
Likewise, beta-blockers are also used to treat heart and blood conditions, such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and irregular heart rhythms. Beta-blockers include propranolol and atenolol, both of which can cause dry eyes in patients.
Oral Contraceptives/Hormone Replacement Therapy
For women, a common cause of dry eyes is birth control pills. The symptom is caused by hormonal changes associated with birth control pills, which then cause changes in the tear film. Likewise, hormone replacement therapy, particularly estrogen-only therapy, is a significant cause of dry eyes. Women who take estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy have a 70 percent higher chance of suffering from dry eyes.
Dry eyes are suffered by millions of Americans every year. While dry eyes are not usually indicative of a serious medical condition, they can cause great discomfort to their sufferers. Doing simple tasks, such as cooking, driving, reading, or working, can become almost impossible with severe dry eye symptoms. Medications are the most common culprit of dry eyes, and by knowing which medications may be causing your dry eye symptoms, you will be better equipped to treat those symptoms with the help of your doctor.
Elizabeth Garvey is a pharmacist. She frequently shares her tips on family and household blogs. Click to find your next contact lenses online.